Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Georgia– Fort Yargo State Park, Dillard and Auburn (Apalachee RV)

Again this year I stayed at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA for a while.  I was there the last week and a half of October.  Since I have blogged about it several times, I am not going to blog about it much. 

While there, I did get a new Smart phone.  So I had to try out the camera --



There are a lot of features on the camera, that I need to learn.  While the pictures are not as good as my other cameras, it is nice to have this available when I don’t have a real camera!

During my stay at Fort Yargo, I walked the 7 mile trail around the lake 4 times  (that’s where I took the pictures above) and I started visits to my Doctors!  I also meet a couple of friends for lunch.

For the month of November, I headed up to Dillard, GA which is about 15 minutes from where my mom lives.  While there, I not only visited with my mom, but I also continued my doctor visits.   I had thought about taking pictures while at the doctors, but never did.  I even thought about it while getting a new crown at the dentist –yuck!! 

Also, while there I cleaned out my RV.  I dumped ever cabinet, drawer and outside storage cabinet and got rid of a bunch of stuff that I was not using.  I took a couple of loads to my storage unit and gave some stuff to GoodWill and Habitat for Humanity. 

From Dillard, I wanted to head someplace warm, it had been colder than I like in the GA Mountains.  But first I headed to Auburn, GA where I had some work done on my RV.  Nothing big, just a long list of things I needed to get done.  I had the work done at Apalachee RV.  I would strongly suggest this place if you need any work done.  They are great to work with.  I stayed in their parking lot for 3 nights. 

auburn_apalachee_rvAbove is my RV next to one of the Varsity catering trucks inside the shop.  At first I thought they were coming to the shop to give us hot dogs, onion rings and frosty oranges (Most people familiar with Atlanta and/or Athens, GA will know what I mean!!), but nope they were getting their generator worked on. 

After everything was done, I made my way to Skidaway Island State Park for a week and a half and then on to Jekyll Island, which is where I am currently. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chattanooga, TN

I know, it’s hard to believe that I am behind once again in my blogging and  this time I can’t use the excuse that I took too many pictures! 

I stopped in Chattanooga, TN for a week in October.  I just missed the SouthEast Lazy Daze group by a couple of days.  One day I went to downtown and spent a few hours at the Chattanooga aquarium.  I was looking forward to my favorite display, the Leafy Sea Dragon.  But I couldn’t find them.  I found the Weedy Sea dragon, by no Leafy.  I found someone and asked and they said they had none!!!  Apparently these creatures are very fragile and can only be supplied to the aquarium by one supplier in Australia.  They are on the waiting list to get more.  I still enjoyed my time there.  Below are a few pictures I took while there--


The Giant Sea Crabs above were huge and I overheard one conversation discussing how they would make a good dinner of crab legs. 

They also have plants and I enjoyed the orchids.

Also while in Chattanooga, I went to the Enterprise South Nature Park several times.  They have several trails that you can combine to get a good walk in.  I walked from 2.5 to 5 miles.   The park was a TNT manufacturing facility between 1944 and 1977.  It was built to support WWII and then reactivated several times including during the Korean War and  Vietnam War.  Many of the dynamite bunkers can be seen from the trails, including the one below --

From Chattanooga, I headed back to Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA and then up to Dillard, GA.  My next blog will be about both of these stops. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Southaven, MS (suburb of Memphis, TN)

You may remember that I stopped in Southaven 2 or 3 years ago.  When working on my route from Colorado to Georgia, I decided to stop in Memphis and visit the zoo again.  I stayed at the same RV Park in Southaven, MS that I did last time.  (Next time I think I will try Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis)  For you fellow Lazy Dazers out there, the website for the RV Park, has a picture of a Lazy Daze on it,  (EZ DAZE with Lazy Daze)

I like old cemeteries and while walking around found this --

It looks like somebody was digging up old graves.

Just kidding, this was part of the Halloween decorations at the Memphis zoo.  Below are other pictures that I took while there.

Wolf --

Micronesian Kingfisher – There are less than 100 of these in existence with none in the wild.  This zoo along with others are trying to keep this bird from going extinct.

Grizzlies -

Sea lion -

Ostrich -

Panda -

I spent 15 – 20 minutes watching the panda.  The last picture reminds me of the pose that many kids are posed in when they get their picture taken professionally!!!  This was the Panda’s resting spot after eating a good bit of bamboo. 

From here I headed to Chattanooga for a week before making my way back to Georgia. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Morrilton, Arkansas–Petit Jean State Park

In early October, I went to Petit Jean State Park  in Arkansas for several days.   The park is on top of a mountain about 60 miles west of Little Rock.  I had a great time at this park.  My campsite was a full hookup site, with a pretty good view of the lake. 

On my first day at the park after setting up, I drove around the park just checking things out and stopping at a couple of overlooks. 

Both of the pictures above were taken at the Stouts Overlook.

One of the trails I hiked was the Seven Hollows Trail.  It only goes through 4 hollows, the other 3 are on private property.  This trail has a great mixture of things to see – an arch, box canyon, rock shelters, great rock formations…

The arch was hidden behind some trees, but it was fun scrambling around the area. 




Above was taken in the Grotto, a side trip off of the 7 Hollows Trail.  During spring and early summer, there is a waterfall at the end of the Box Canyon, but it was dry when I visited.  It was still worth the extra walking and scrambling over some rocks.

The trail is rated moderate and I would have to say I agree.  It has some hills, but that was not the bad part.  In many parts of the trail it was very rocky, which made it difficult to walk – but it was well worth it!

This area is known for the rock layering and something called Carpet Rocks.  These formations are a result of fractures in sandstone that were filled with quartz.  The sandstone weathered away, but the quartz was left, leaving very interesting patterns in the stone.    I found a few small examples of Carpet Rocks on this trail, but knew I would search for better examples on another day. 

Below is some interesting rock layering that may eventually be more like a Carpet Rock.

It looked like the tree below was kissing the rock --

You may have to click on the picture below to see this one, but I found the rock that the tree is growing on very interesting.

The next day, I went on a couple of shorter trails looking for some better examples of Carpet Rocks and also Turtle Rocks.

From the Cedar Creek Trail, I found the following examples of Carpet Rock.  The first boulder I found was probably about 10 – 12 feet long and was covered with these great patterns.   Some people thought that these were carvings like petroglyphs, while others have said that aliens did them.  But geologist say they are natural and that’s the group I believe!!  It was impossible to get a good shot of the entire boulder, below are a couple of close up shots. 

In the above example you can see my 1/2 of my shoe at the bottom center of the photo, just to give a size perspective of the rock.  This was taken just past the Cedar Falls Overlook. 

There is also some rock formations that they call Turtle Rocks.  There are a few on the Seven Hollows Trail, but the best ones are found on the Rockhouse Trail. 

My pictures don’t really do them justice, they did look like turtle shells.  

Another day, I went to the Bear Cave Trail which was an easy trail with lots of places to walk around and thru rock formations.  Below are pictures taken from that area -- 

In addition to the hiking trails, the park has a paved walking/biking trail that I walked for a few miles one morning.  I would strongly recommend visiting this park!!

(By the way, I am currently back in Georgia.  From Petit Jean, I headed to Memphis, then Chattanooga, TN before getting back to Georgia. I‘ll try to do those blogs in the next week or so!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Amarillo, TX

I decided to stop in Amarillo, TX on the way back to Georgia because I wanted to go back to Palo Duro Canyon which is just south of Amarillo.  Unfortunately, I got there during a 3-day heat wave in early October.  I was hoping for mid-70’s, but I got mid to high 80’s and wind. 

I headed to Palo Duro in the morning and decided to drive around the park before hitting the trail I wanted to hike – mistake number 1 (I should have started hiking when it was cooler).  They have had a good bit of rain recently so some of the typically dry water crossings along the road had water in them.   (At least they have been dry the other 3 times I have been there)


Because of water and mud, one of the crossings was closed so I could not do the loop I had hoped to drive and had to backtrack a bit.


As I headed to the Lighthouse Trail, I saw something crossing the road.  I had to stop and get a closer look.

It was a Tarantula!!  I don’t think I have ever seen one outside of zoos.  This one had a body of about 2 – 3 inches, add on the legs and it was probably 5 – 6 inches long.  A ranger stopped while I was looking and verified it was a Tarantula and mentioned that they were harmless. 

When I finally got to the Lighthouse trail it was about 10:00 and starting to get hot.  There was a sign warning about the heat, but I decided to head on.  It is about 5 miles and I figured if  it got too hot I would turn around.  After 15 minutes or so, I knew I would not make it all the way, but went on as I wanted to get closer to one of the rocks/cliffs I could see.

I got to the base of the cliff in the middle of the picture above and explored a bit.  While exploring, I felt something weird on my hiking boot.  I looked at my foot and the sole of my boot was coming off.  So between the heat and my boots, I realized I was not meant to hike this trail that day.  After only 1/2 mile or so of hiking, I slowly started back.  The sole came off fairly quickly and I was walking on the material that connects to the sole.  Then the other boot sole started coming off.  Before I got to the end of the trail, I was walking on moccasin-like soles and carrying the thick rubber soles of both of my boots.  I could feel rocks, so I walked very carefully.   But I figured it was my fault.  A few months ago I decided to leave my boots in the car so I would always have them if I found a neat place to hike.  Mistake number 2.  I think the car got so hot that it ruined the boots.

I had to head out the next day, so the Lighthouse trail will have to wait for a cooler day some other time!!

On the way out, I had to stop for one last picture --

From Amarillo, I took a couple of days and headed to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas where I found some great scenery and trails! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Colorado Springs, CO -- Part 2

One day I decided to drive up Pikes Peak.  I did this several years ago when part of the road was still dirt.  It is now paved all the way to the top.  A few days after I drove up, I heard on the news that the road up would be closed for a while so that they could do some filming for Fast and Furious – Number 7 ( I think it was 7??).    I would have hated to drive there and find that it was closed!!.

Driving up, you not only get great views of scenery but also have a chance of seeing wildlife.  Below is a sign warning of some of the local wildlife!!


Above is the Crystal Creek Reservoir with Pikes Peak behind the lake. 

Since it is paved, it isn’t as scary as it was last time I drove up.  A couple of shots from stops along the road are below--

I was only at the top about 15 minutes.  I did see the cog train on it’s way up.  A few years ago I took the train up, but I enjoy the drive better. 


On the way down, I stopped at one place and did a short hike.

Another day, I drove through Phantom Canyon which was at one time a railroad route.  It is now a dirt road that in most places is too narrow for 2 cars.  Just my type of scenic drive!!  

From Phantom Canyon, I drove through Cripple Creek.  I had planned on stopping and exploring a bit, but the day I went they were having a huge motorcycle festival with 1000’s of motorcycles and while I was there a parade was going on.  So I decided not to stop.  I went on to the Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument.  They have found a lot of fossils in the shale rocks and they also have petrified wood.


In the Big Stump below, you can just make out 2 saw blades where people tried to cut the petrified wood many years ago. (the blades kind of look like eyes on the stump)

I visited the Royal Gorge Park area several years ago and again this year.  But this past spring they had a wildfire and it destroyed all of the Royal Gorge Park buildings so the park is closed.  The pictures below were taken from the one road in the area that is still open.   I liked the picture below because you can see that just months after the fire wildflowers are blooming and life is coming back to the area.

If you look closely or expand the picture above you can see a train just about in the center of the photo.

From Colorado Springs, I am slowly taking my time in going back to Georgia.  A couple of people had suggested I stop at the Balloon Festival in New Mexico.  I want to do that sometime, but I decided not to do it this year.  I stopped in Amarillo, TX for a couple of days, then I will take a couple of days to get to Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas.  I’ll blog about those later.